Greece has long been a country with the lowest perinatal mortality rate globally. At Pelargos IVF we do private obstetrics. We realise that private obstetrics means catering to the patient’s needs in the best possible way. We perform our deliveries at the biggest and safest Maternity Hospital in Athens, IASO Hospital. We follow Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guidelines, as the health of mothers and babies is of paramount importance for us.
If patient prefers a pool delivery and meets the criteria, we do our best to offer them the option. If a patient chooses to deliver through an elective C-section due to tokophobia, we will offer this option.
It is not just the destination that matters but the journey as well. We want our patients to remember their pregnancy in the best way, so we ensure they have everything they need to have a safe and a happy journey.
Sex and sexuality are an integral part if a woman’s life. No woman should feel uncomfortable to discuss this topic with her gynaecologist, especially during her pregnancy.
Sex during pregnancy is allowed, unless there is an identified health issue, in which case your doctor will advise against having intercourse. Otherwise, having intercourse during pregnancy should not cause any issues or complications. The baby is protected, inside the amniotic sac and amniotic fluid, behind the cervix and the cervical mucus, which is there to prevent infection growing inside the uterus. Orgasms do produce micro contractions, but they have nothing to do with normal contractions and do not trigger labour or miscarriages. Oral sex is allowed, unless the partner has got active Herpes lesions.
Anal sex during pregnancy is not typically considered safe. There is a number of factors to be taken into account here. Dangerous infections can manifest by spreading from the anus to the vagina. History of haemorrhoids in a patient or a low lying placenta can also be factors, indicating that anal sex might not be a safe option. However, if there are no pregnancy complications and appropriate precautions are taken, anal sex can be safe and enjoyable for the couple.
Your doctor may recommend abstaining from sex if there’s a history of cervical incompetence, ruptured membranes, placental abruption or sexual diseases.
A woman’s body changes throughout pregnancy. Whether the couple’s libido increases or reduces during pregnancy depends on several factors and can differ with each couple. It’s important for every couple to be educated about sex during pregnancy and the fact that in most cases it is not harmful for the baby. Such reassurance can offer psychological relief and support for the pregnant woman and her partner.
High oestrogen levels can increase libido. During pregnancy, the discharge will increase and may vary in consistency, thickness, frequency, and amount. A woman’s external genitals can become swollen and during pregnancy, which can increase her sex drive. Whereas, the genitals’ hypersensitivity can cause pain and discomfort in intercourse. The same applies to breasts.
It is up to every couple to decide on whether they want to and how often they want to have sex during pregnancy.
After pregnancy, vaginal bleeding, low oestrogen levels and pain are some of the factors that could make intercourse uncomfortable.
For patients who deliver vaginally and require suturing, it is advisable to wait for a minimum of three weeks before having intercourse. It may take longer for some patients.
You don’t need to quit coffee all together when pregnant, but you definitely need to moderate your intake. A 2008 study has proven that more than 200 mg of coffee a day doubles the miscarriage rates. A lead US college of obstetricians and gynaecologists recommends to limit coffee consumption to less than 2 cups per day, especially in the first trimester. We need though to be aware of the fact that tea, Coca-Cola, energy drinks and chocolate also contain caffeine.
Moderate consumption (up to two cups of coffee per day) shouldn’t be an issue, but overconsumption is strictly forbidden. Increased heart rate and insomnia, which can be caused by too much coffee, can aggravate the already existing side effects of pregnancy.
Other studies note that overconsumption of caffeine has been associated with intra-uterine growth restriction and increased rate of intra-uterine deaths. It is overall advised to restrict coffee consumption to reasonable levels.
Weight gain in pregnancy varies. The recommended weight gain is between 8-11kg. However, it heavily depends on the initial weight of the patient. Most of the weight a pregnant woman puts on throughout her pregnancy is placental weight, foetal weight and weight caused by fluids retention and amniotic fluid.
Overweight and obese women need to take care of their weight more. These women are already at increased risk of pregnancy-related hypertension, diabetes or even preeclampsia. Special diet is recommended in this case. Overall, all pregnant women should follow a healthy diet.
It is advised for obese women to lose weight if they decide to try conceiving. This may increase their pregnancy chances and reduce the risk of pregnancy complications.
Non-obese women are at lesser risk of suffering from pregnancy related diabetes, IUD, venous thrombosis, Caesarean section and instrumental delivery rates, as well as infection rates, post-delivery bleeding and hypertension/preeclampsia.
Of course you can. Actually keeping yourself fit during pregnancy helps you control your weight, reduces your stress and makes your body adjust to pregnancy changes better. It can also help you going back to your pre-pregnancy levels quicker after delivery. Specific pelvic floor exercises help in pushing during a normal delivery.
Whilst it’s important to remember that you are not sick, just pregnant, and that means you can continue exercising. However, if you never actually exercised before pregnancy, it’s not a good idea to take it up extremely actively. About 15-30 min of exercise 3 times a week is enough. It is important not to exhaust yourself, dehydrate or lose your breath when exercising while pregnant.
If you feel comfortable, you can gradually do more. Make sure to stretch before and after training, avoid exercising in an overheated space and keep well-hydrated. There are also special yoga and Pilates classes for pregnant women. Your personal trainer should be knowledgeable about exercise for pregnant women. From the 2nd trimester on, it would be better to avoid over-stretching and lying on your back for long periods of time.
Contact sports like boxing, kickboxing and judo are to be avoided. The same applies to sports that have high risk of accidents like bicycling, skiing and horse riding. Scuba diving is not recommended, as well as exercising in altitudes of more than 2500 m.
Prenatal massage can provide stress relief and is also has been proved to help with sciatic nerve pain, which is sometimes experienced in the third trimester. Generally massage helps to stimulate soft tissues and as a result, swelling and oedemas can be relieved.
Muscle aches, stress hormones and even depression rates could be reduced after massage, as many studies have proven. Even labour outcomes can be improved according to a few studies. It is important to have your massage done by a specialist trained in prenatal massage.
A massage therapist should pay attention to positioning. After 18 weeks, a pregnant woman should not lie down on her back. This can cause hypotension, due to the pressure on the large blood vessel, called the inferior vena cava, that could be compressed. There are special beds, which allow pregnant women to lie face down, while in some cases you can be placed on your side, using pillows. Pelvis and lower abdominal massage should be avoided in the first trimester. Mild Swedish massage though, without too much pressure, is allowed.
There is no research regarding aromatherapy and pregnancy. Due to absence of research on the matter, is it advised to avoid aromatherapy during pregnancy.
Facial treatments should preferably be avoided during pregnancy. We know that skin in pregnancy, especially facial, could become very sensitive. Therefore, it is suggested to take extra caution with anything that can affect it.
Due to physiological changes and the skin’s hypersensitivity in pregnancy, waxing can be more painful. The good news is that it is generally safe to have even large areas of your body waxed. Just be sure that your aesthetician or dermatologist is conscious of your condition and comfort level, and that all hygiene requirements are met. If you want an appointment with our collaborating aesthetic dermatologist, please contact us for a referral.
Colouring, Perming, and Straightening Hair
Chemically treating hair during pregnancy has long been a subject steeped in controversy.
While there have not been any conclusive studies done, most healthcare providers will suggest waiting to colour or perm hair, until after the first trimester, minimizing any possible effect on the developing foetus. In addition, changing your hair colour or texture can be a smelly business, and sensitivity to fumes is usually at its peak during the first trimester.
Manicures and Pedicures
Towards the end of your pregnancy a salon pedicure may be more a necessity rather than luxury—after all, it is hard to polish toenails that you cannot reach! Fortunately, there is no need for concern about the safety of having nails done. While many expectant women worry about chemical fumes from the products used, it shouldn’t really stress them. Simply make sure that you have your manicure and pedicure done in a well-ventilated room.
While there is no hard evidence that tanning beds can harm your baby, there is solid proof that they can be quite bad for you. According to the US Food and Drug Administration, tanning beds expose your skin to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause skin cancer. Skin that is stretched out—common in pregnancy—is also more easily damaged.
In addition, pregnant women are prone to a condition called chloasma (often described as “the mask of pregnancy”), in which the facial skin darkens in patches. Exposure to UV rays may aggravate this condition. Tanning beds are not recommended.
The spray-on or “airbrush” tans available in many salons are considered safe for external application during pregnancy. Their active ingredient is dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a sugar derivative that stains the surface of the skin.
However, according to the FDA, DHA has not been proven safe for ingestion or inhalation. So take precautions when choosing a salon. If the salon does not offer protection for your eyes, mouth, nose, and ears while you are in the spray-on tanning booth, go somewhere else.
A brilliant white smile is white-hot right now, but unfortunately teeth whitening is not recommended for pregnant or lactating women. There is no data to indicate whether teeth whitening procedures are safe and therefore expectant mothers should be cautious.
In addition hormone changes during and soon after pregnancy often affect gum tissue leading to a condition known as “pregnancy gingivitis”—swollen, tender, and sometimes bleeding gums. The bleach in teeth whiteners can aggravate this condition. To keep your smile bright during your pregnancy, ensure good oral hygiene: brushing, flossing, and keeping up with scheduled dental visits.
Pelargos IVF works in close cooperation with Aurum Wellness and Dr Leo Avgerinos, a well-known aesthetic dentist who has an extensive experience working in the UK. We can refer you to Dr Avgerinos, where you can get all the answers regarding pregnancy and teeth treatments. Book an appointment/skype or a WhatsApp consultation with Dr Avgerinos by filling in the form below.
In pregnancy, you may feel a change in your appetite. Pregnancy doesn’t mean that you now need to eat for two. It does mean, however, that you need to pay extra attention to the quality of your meals. It is important to stick to a healthy and well-balanced diet, so that your baby gets all the necessary vitamins and nutrients.
Pregnant women shouldn’t be trying to lose weight, even if they suffer from obesity. It is important to control your weight and adhere to a healthy diet.
A nutritious breakfast will help reduce the need for unhealthy snacks. We recommend consumption of up to 5 fruits or vegetables per day. Please take extra care and wash your fruit and vegetables to reduce the risk of toxoplasmosis contamination.
Carbohydrates included in food like pasta, bread, rice, potatoes, should be an essential part of our everyday diet. This applies to pregnancy too. Proteins are equally important. You should consume poultry, cooked eggs and beans, which include large amount of protein. Balance your diet by consuming up to two meals of fish per week. However, there is fish that you should avoid.
Alcohol should be restricted to less than 2 glasses of wine per week, especially in the first trimester.
Cheese contains calcium, which is beneficial. Please make sure to avoid soft cheeses (to reduce the risk of listeria) and choose cheese and other dairy products made from pasteurized milk. It is advised to reduce consumption of chocolate, cakes, ice creams, butter and biscuits, since these products hold little nutritional value but will make you can unnecessary weight.
If you get hungry between your everyday meals, choose snacks such low fat yoghurt, fruits, milk with cereals, salads etc. It is preferrable to have several small meals during the day, rather than two large and heavy meals. This can offer relief for women who suffer from nausea and hyperemesis during the first trimester. Avoid fatty, spicy, fried and foods with strong odour; it can help reduce pregnancy-related vomiting.
Book a Skype consultation and long-distance online weight management (through WhatsApp) with our clinical dietician Mr. Koidis , who is based in London. He can supervise your diet and weight and guide you throughout your pregnancy.